Our PURPOSE

We believe we write our future with the stories we narrate, and we are committed to co-creating a more inclusive, connected, and just world

“To be a storyteller is to recognize, break apart, and critically reshape the stories of our communities and our world.”

Tsering Lama, Storytelling Advisory, Greenpeace International

Our mission is to use oral history and storytelling to spark conversation, connection, and social change in the South Sound and beyond

Who we are & what we do

We are a local nonprofit in Olympia, WA committed to gathering people together to share stories that have been forgotten, silenced, or ignored throughout history. Since 2016, we have woven stories that often go unshared into the fabric of our public life. We work alongside service providers, activists, and other problem-solvers to tell nuanced and inclusive stories—people’s histories—of who we are in this homeplace. We help correct collective amnesia that perpetuates oppressive and harmful patterns because we believe the future is written with the stories we narrate, and we want to co-create a more inclusive, connected, and just world.

Oral history and personal narrative are at the center of our work. We experiment with many formats. Through live storytelling, theatre, community conversations, artistic collaborations, podcasts, film screenings, and exhibits, we amplify local knowledge, share powerful stories and ideas, and ask what is possible.

We envision a local community that honors, seeks out, and is shaped by the many histories, identities, and stories that reflect the people we are in this place

Our values

  • Local community responsiveness - Our projects come about from the needs and assets of the community. We aim to be responsive, consistent, and trustworthy with our partners. Our projects are always co-created with community partners - 'nothing about someone without them.' We want to connect people with our homeplace, the land, and one another.
  • Ethical story stewardship - In our workshops and collaborations, we emphasize process over product and the ethical considerations of holding other peoples’ stories. We aspire to gather and share nuanced, layered stories with artistic and ethical integrity. We consider ourselves stewards of other peoples’ stories. We do not own the copyright to the stories we gather and we never share a story without the person's feedback and ongoing consent.
  • Collective memory activism - We intentionally feature stories that represent diverse perspectives and multicultural identities to help eliminate entrenched biases, stereotypes, and discrimination within communities. We highlight the voices and contributions of those who have historically been in the margins and prioritize accessibility and cultural responsiveness in our programming. Through storytelling, we aim to more deeply understand ourselves, embrace our shared humanity, celebrate our uniqueness, and collectively create the narrative of the world we want to live in.
  • Equitable organizing - We strive to incorporate antiracist practices into our organizational values and structure because we know white supremacy culture can easily manifest in organizations. Identifying and naming the culture we want to see helps make room for a truly multicultural organization. We choose to value people over productivity, embracing discomfort as the root of all growth, and deepening our collective understandings of systemic racism and oppression and how our personal experiences and feelings fit into a larger picture.

Our practice

Window Seat Media is a worker self-directed nonprofit with shared leadership. We are a nimble organization that thrives on synergy, abundance thinking, and experimentation. We value relationships (human and place-based), multi-disciplinary collaboration, community voice, equity, transparency, and trust.

Storytelling is a vital part of human life, and there are many ways that community storytelling projects can nourish, heal, and strengthen our communal life. We understand that stories are told not only through words, but also through all our oral traditions, including the food we grow and prepare, the music we make and dances we perform, our handicrafts, and our traditions and rituals. Our work is informed by best practices from the American Folklore Society and the Oral History Association.

Strategic plan community feedback

Take our Community Feedback Survey to inform our 2022-25 strategic plan and planning for future community oral history and storytelling projects. We appreciate you taking the time to offer your feedback and insights.

We are guided by a commitment to continually refine our practice, to listen deeply, and to find relevant, innovative, and evocative ways to share community stories. We center community input, always.

Annual reporting